Tech features Pro Bike: Ruth Edwards’ Factor Ostro VAM (the unreleased one)
The new and yet-to-be-ridden team bike of Human Powered Health. Plus a look at the unreleased frame and wheels.
After two years of racing off-road as part of the Life Time Grand Prix series, Ruth (Winder) Edwards has returned to the World Tour.
The former Olympian, United States national champion, and winner of the Tour Down Under has signed with the overhauled Human Powered Health outfit for 2024. Formerly Rally Cycling, the women’s team stepped up to World Tour status in 2022, and for 2024, it has added new technical sponsors and a handful of new talent.
In Australia for the Tour Down Under, Edwards was racing on a black first-generation Factor Ostro. Meanwhile, Factor Bikes’ founder Rob Gitelis arrived in town with the
yet-to-be-released second-generation Factor Ostro painted in the yet-to-be-used Human Powered Health team colours. This colourful bike will soon become Ruth’s main race bike, with the black team bike becoming a spare. Freshly built for Edwards, the upcoming Factor Ostro VAM will soon be the race bike of choice for the Human Powered Health team. The paint colours match the team kit. By contrast, this is the bike that Edwards actually raced at the Tour Down Under, with the rest of the team on the same build and colour, too. It’s the original Factor Ostro VAM in a more off-the-shelf paint option. These black bikes will soon become the spare and training bikes. I won’t rehash what we’ve already speculated about the new Ostro, but these photos do clearly show the more angular head tube and deeper fork legs. Shapely indeed. Enhance. Factor gave permission for us to photograph the bike but wasn’t willing to divulge any specifics. The unreleased update to the Ostro has already been raced by Simon Clarke at Australian Nationals, with a few subtle differences visible. One such difference is seen with the more profiled seat tube that also moves the seat clamp to a rear position (like what Pinarello did for a number of generations) rather than the current single-bolt binder-wedge system. The Black Inc cockpit on Edwards’ bike is a carry-over from existing models. Edwards stands at approximately 1.63 m (5′ 4″) and rides a 52 cm. It’s a 100 mm stem and narrow 36 cm bars for Edwards. Supacaz supplies the team with bartape. Meanwhile the team chooses saddles from Specialized (not a sponsor, apparently). Here Edwards is using the ultra comfy and ultra expensive S-Works Power with Mirror 3D-printed saddle. Within his Factor Ostro spotted article, Ronan Mc Laughlin also noted a new Black Inc wheel in use. The 48 | 58 label is assumed to be in reference to the shallower 48 mm front rim depth matched to a deeper 58 mm rear rim depth. A closer look also reveals a few other new things… Notably the unreleased Black Inc wheels are using replaceable carbon spokes, similar to what Cadex, Hunt, and a few others offer. Such spokes typically save a decent chunk of weight while increasing wheel stiffness. Tubeless has now become the status quo in the WorldTour. Human Powered Health are sponsored by Goodyear with the team seemingly all running the new Eagle F1 R in a 28 mm (printed) width. *Not in reference to the use of tubeless tyres. One more angle of that new front rim. Human Powered Health is yet another women’s team riding SRAM, however the component company isn’t listed as an official sponsor. Edwards’ new bike was built with a regular off-the-shelf SRAM Red AXS groupset. Meanwhile the American racers’ race bike featured the team-issue levers which feel to offer a shape closer to that of the newly updated Force AXS lever (slimmer profile in the hood). SRAM Red calipers and stock SRAM hardware. The team has long been sponsored by American company Arundel and that continues for 2024. Here the team is using the Dave-O model of carbon cage. Wahoo is another team sponsor, supplying the team with head units, trainers, and its Speedplay Zero pedals. The team uses SRAM RED AXS Quarq DZero cranks. Edwards uses a 170 mm crank length with 48/35T chainrings shown here. Once more, the bikes that were actually raced at the Tour Down Under had team-issue cranks with more prominent branding. Edwards actually raced with 52/39T gearing. The race bike also has the race number. A 10-33T cassette is used out back. Those new wheels retain the CeramicSpeed bearings that are a regular addition in Black Inc’s wheels. The rear thru-axle is shielded by the chainstay. The paint fade is rather lovely. It’s unclear when the official details of the new Factor Ostro VAM and Black Inc 48/58 wheels will be revealed. More to come at some point. What did you think of this story?
😐Meh 😊️Solid 🤩Excellent